Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Man with the License to Thrill: BOOM BOOM!

I remember a skinny lad coming out with a swagger and bash the hell out of the cricket ball from the very first delivery that he faced. Getting his eye in was not what he ever required, ball one would be swung at, as hard as the young man could. No second invitation was ever required if a spinner was in operation to him, he would skip down the pitch and murder the innocent cricket ball with devilish force.

But with great risks come frequent failures, the young man could change the course of a match single handedly in a small matter of a few balls but he could also leave fans seething in anger at his sometimes seemingly mindless approach. He thrilled cricket lovers, united people from his tumultus country, people flocked to see him bat, they would chant his name even as he prepared to walk to the middle at the fall of a wicket. I am sure you all must have guessed who I am talking about! The man whom I am talking about is none other than Shahid Afridi, better known as Boom Boom or Lala!!

The ICC World Cup 2015 will be the last time that we will see Shahid Afridi play for Pakistan in ODI cricket. Right from his first innings in ODI cricket when he hit the fastest ever century in just 37 balls (the record stood for 17 years and was broken recently by New Zealands Corey Anderson who achieved it in 36 balls) there has never been a dull moment whenever he has stepped onto the cricket field.

(Image source: abc.net.au)

He was a thorough showman - remember him holding his arms out, calling out his team-mates to engulf him in his moment of triumph (I am sure we will see a lot of it in the upcoming World Cup) whenever he outfoxed a batsman with his googly!  He has hit more sixes then anybody else in ODI cricket, he boasts of a staggering strike rate of around 115 even after playing for around 18 years and has taken almost 400 ODI wickets. He still plays like that skinny lad used to play all those years ago, he still thrills us with all his big hitting, he still baffles us with his stupid choice of shots when all that was required to win the match was a calm head, he still charms us with his charismatic smile. Here is hoping that he can sign off in his signature style!!

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